An Analysis Of Psycho Essay Research Paper

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An Analysis Of Psycho Essay, Research Paper An Analysis of the Opening Sequence from Alfred Hitchcock?s Psycho Just like a building, a film needs a strong foundation to build on in order to be successful. This foundation is found in the starting moments of the film. In Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock successfully uses the first sequence to set a foundation on which he builds an interesting plot in order to keep us, the viewers, involved in the movie. Hitchcock immediately suggesting a “psycho” theme as the credits begin. A musical composition consisting of quick strokes on string instruments, not totally unlike the music in the famous shower scene, starts to play. Names begin to slide on and off the screen in a series of horizontal and vertical lines. The top and bottom portions

of the names slide onto the screen, followed by the middle portion. The last name to appear is that of Alfred Hitchcock, which settles in the middle of the screen and begins to twitch and flutter in an unusual manner. The credits then dissolve into a long shot of an auspicious section of an unknown city where a building is being constructed (paralleling the idea of Hitchcock shaping a foundation). As this dissolve takes place, a more subtle and mellow music (again composed of string instruments) fills the air, suggesting a stable environment. The sun burns brightly in the sky and a desert landscape is seen in the background through a haze. The shot immediately begins to pan slowly to the right, revealing more city rooftops and streets. As a dissolve zooms us slightly closer to

the city and the camera continues to pan, small block letters appear on both sides of the screen and converge in the middle to read “PHEONIX, ARIZONA.” Hitchcock immediately brings the reoccurring theme of birds into the film by setting the scenery in “Phoenix.” The camera continues to pan to the right, now moving on to a more dreary side of the city. The next set of titles converges in the center of the screen, reading “FRIDAY, DECEMBER ELEVENTH.” As the panning continues, a slow zoom begins to bring us closer to one of the buildings. The last title appears in the same fashion as the preceding, “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M.” Yet another dissolve stops the camera on a rather unattractive wall, slowly zooming in on a window with venetian blinds drawn down. A cut to a

closer view of the window reveals an opening a few inches below the blind in which the camera continues to zoom in on, bringing us into a dark apartment room. Since we have grown accustomed to the bright sun outside, the apartment, in contrast, seems gloomy. The camera pans to the right at the same speed as before, allowing us to make out a couple of blurred objects. Now the picture begins to focus and we see the torso of a shirtless Sam Loomis standing next to a bed where a half-nude Marion Crane lies gazing upward at him. The first words are spoken while at the same time the music comes to a halt. “Never did eat your lunch, did you?” says Sam. With this line a cut places the camera on a close-up of a small table on which lies a water pitcher, glasses, a paper cup, and a

wrapped up uneaten sandwich. Marion answers, “I?ve got to get back to the office.” The first half of the opening sequence symbolizes the film?s progress as a whole. We are taken from the broad surface view of Phoenix into the depths of its intricate workings. We go from beautiful daylight to a grim darkness. Furthermore, we move from a public and general view to a most private and intimate one, just as the movie will as it progresses. We even duplicate Norman Bates?s later action of peeping through a hole to see Marion partially nude as we “peep” beneath the blind to see the same woman, again partially nude. Hitchcock successfully uses these opening camera shots to foreshadow later events in the film as well as suggest we are not totally unlike Norman. We too have erotic